With shopping apps that can do everything from price comparisons
to rapid-fire checkouts
, formerly tedious real-life errands have become almost as simple as their e-tail counterparts. Recently, supermarkets have been aiming to make further enhancements to the in-store experience by introducing “smart” shopping carts that can help shoppers cut down both on time spent trolling the aisles and dollars spent at the register.
Microsoft and app developers Chaotic Moon
have developed a futuristic shopping cart
prototype, known as the “Smarter Cart,”
for Whole Foods. A Windows 8 tablet
, positioned atop the cart, uses a UPC/RFID scanner to identify items placed inside. It also checks off items on shoppers' lists, recommends products and recipes, and circumvents long lines by ringing up purchases automatically. With the help of Kinect technology, the motorized cart follows the shopper around the store and can even catch mistakes like accidentally picking up low-fat milk instead of non-fat. The carts are being tested at Whole Foods’ Austin headquarters, but will eventually be rolled out nationally if proven successful.
Lambent Shopping Trolley Handle:
As part of the Change Project
, researchers at Open University
conceived the Lambent Shopping Trolley Handle
. The 16-LED multicolor display and scanner attaches to any supermarket cart and gives shoppers nutritional, ethical and environmental product information. It also allows users to compare their choices with those of other consumers in order to gauge just how socially conscious they're being. Displaying this information “generated a significant nudge effect, influencing what products people selected,” says user experience researcher Vaiva Kalnikaitė
. After sending 18 Brits to a grocery store outfitted with Lambent carts, 72% of the products purchased had a lower food mileage footprint than items bought by shoppers using a normal cart.
Select supermarkets within China and Korea are testing SKTelecom
’s Smart Cart service
, which syncs tablet-equipped shopping carts with consumers’ smartphones to offer pertinent location-based
information in real-time. A companion mobile app automatically synchronizes with the cart’s tablet, upon which it displays shopping tips, targeted coupons, and product information based on where shoppers are in the store and what’s on their list. At the checkout counter, the tablet compiles a list of purchased items, membership points accumulated, and available coupons. Eventually, the company plans to integrate consumers’ shopping histories for more personalized product recommendations.